The Cincinnati Public School District will receive a $200,000 grant from the Cincinnati Bengals as part of the National Football League Grassroots Program, it was announced Friday.
The grant, awarded by the Bengals, the NFL Youth Football Fund and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), is part of $2.5 million in field refurbishment awards allocated this year. It will be used to install a synthetic turf football field at Woodward High School. It will feature an eight-lane track and seating for 2,000 spectators, and will be used by elementary and middle school football teams as well as the community at large.
The NFL Grassroots Program, a partnership between the NFL Youth Football Fund and LISC, the nation's leading community development support corporation, has resulted in the construction or renovation of 243 football fields nationwide in the past 13 years. During that time, the NFL Youth Football Fund has granted more than $30 million to revitalize playing fields in underserved neighborhoods. Fields are newly built or significantly renovated, with improvements such as irrigation systems, lights, bleachers, scoreboards, goal posts and turf. Grassroots grants are issued once established funding thresholds are reached for each project.
"We are excited about helping to provide such a needed community asset that will not only provide for a safe and dependable place for youth to play football, but will also serve as a magnet for other community activities for the Woodward school community," Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn said. "This project also represents a milestone for our charitable giving in that with this project we top more than $1 million that has been dedicated to local schools for much needed improvements over the past 6 years."
LISC identifies local, nonprofit, neighborhood-based agencies which have an interest in building or refurbishing football fields in schools and parks in underserved neighborhoods. Through the program, the local agencies are provided with the necessary financing and technical assistance to improve the quality and safety of fields in their neighborhoods. The local agencies oversee the construction, maintenance and programming of the fields.
"These fields are a critical part of our efforts to create sustainable communities – places where people want to live, work and raise families," said Michael Rubinger, LISC's president and CEO. "Through its contributions, the NFL Youth Football Fund is not only creating places for young people to compete in football and other sports, it's also making countless neighborhoods better and stronger."
About Bengals Contributions Via the Grassroots Program
Since 2005 the Bengals have worked with local schools to improve or build new football fields that serve youth football and the entire school community. $200,000 grants have been provided to Withrow HS, Oak Hills HS, Lockland HS, Clinton-Massie HS and now Woodward HS. Additionally, grants for $50,000 have been provided to Holy Cross School and Oak Hills HS for other ancillary improvements outside of synthetic fields. To date this program has delivered $1,100,000 in improvements to local schools throughout the region.
About the NFL Youth Football Fund
Established in 1998 by the NFL and the NFL Players Association, the NFL Youth Football Fund seeks to use football as a catalyst to promote positive youth development, support youth and high school football needs nationwide and also ensure the health of grassroots football in future generations. Through the YFF's youth football initiatives and support programs, youngsters are provided with opportunities to learn the game of football, get physically fit and stay involved in productive after-school activities with adult mentors
LISC combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize distressed neighborhoods. Since 1980, LISC has raised more than $11.1 billion to build or rehab more than 277,000 affordable homes and develop 44 million square feet of retail, community and educational space nationwide. LISC support has leveraged nearly $33.9 billion in total development activity. For more information, visit lisc.org.